1975 BMW R75/5 | The Bike That Changed My Life

RIDER: Chris Hodgson
THEN: Mechanic and race tuner
NOW: Proprietor of San Jose BMW

"The year was 1975. I was living in Colorado, working my way through college, when I got a job as a mechanic at BMW of Denver. It was right around the corner from my house-not the new, fancy place, but the tiny old shop on West Evans, where I was one of two mechanics. At the time I had a CZ 400 motocrosser that I raced and an old BSA Gold Star that I putted around on the street. My only experience with BMWs was the test rides I took after servicing them. My friend and fellow mechanic, Bill Wood, thought I should know more about the brand I was working on, so convinced the owner to loan us a couple of shop bikes for the weekend. We left Denver on a cool morning and headed for Aspen to watch the MRA races at Woody Creek Raceway. I don't remember the exact route we took, but two parts stand out: blazing up and over Independence Pass (12,095 ft.) and blasting across South Park side-by-side at 90 mph. At the end of the weekend I said to myself, 'I've gotta own one of these BMWs.' And I soon did, buying a totaled R75/5 that I rebuilt and rode all over the West, one day ending up at the door of San Jose BMW, looking for a new throttle cable. They were looking for a mechanic, and after three months of considering it, I took the job. Now, all these years later, my wife and I own the store. That ride not only changed my life, it defined it."

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